Step-Dame Study’s Purpose: Early Modern Literature and Critical Thinking

Emily Ruth Isaacson

Abstract


Given what seems a constant barrage of criticism aimed at the academy from politicians and the public—and the great concern for buzz words like accountability and transparency—it has become fairly routine to see a defense of the humanities in opinion pieces in Inside Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and even CNN.com. The pieces range from defending the intrinsic worth of the humanities to defending the concrete skills that we teach, like critical thinking and writing. Most of these arguments seem to imply that it’s one way or the other; the defenders who argue for the former tend to see the pragmatic conversation as sullying the aesthetics of our disciplines, while the defenders arguing for the latter see the lack of discussion of anything other than marketable skills as pie-in-the-sky idealism.

Keywords


Higher Education; Early Modern Literature

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